Keep Your Zoom Session Private

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The winding road that has led many of us to work from home has also introduced a new variable into our lives. This is Zoom, a video-conferencing app that allows us to share with colleagues and clients what we used to do in person. While a lifesaver in the pandemic, it’s important to make sure you use Zoom securely.

To the company’s credit, they have moved quickly to provide updates to plug security vulnerabilities as they have been identified. That means the first thing to do is to make sure your Zoom app is up-to-date. Because it runs on computers, tablets and smartphones, there are a variety of ways to do this. On PCs and Macs, you can always download the latest version from the Support link on the website Zoom.us. The computer and phone apps will also alert you if there is a new version available when you join a meeting.

To be sure you are connecting to just those people you are supposed to be meeting with, click only on links you’re expecting (in email or a text message). The bad guys have been known to send messages saying, “Your meeting attendees are waiting…” to get you to click a malware-loaded link before you have time to think, “Gee, I don’t remember setting up a meeting.”

Setting your Zoom preferences to enhance security is easy. Because Zoom operates differently on Windows, Mac and smartphones, look for all of these in the area of the Zoom app called ‘Settings” or “View additional settings.”

For any meeting you create, set a password. Then when you send the Zoom link to your meeting attendees, send a separate message or text with the password. That way, even if the meeting link is hijacked, scammers won’t be able to join without also intercepting the password. 

Zoom has a feature called the waiting room. Utilizing this, your attendees can connect to your meeting, but until you approve of their connection, they can’t join the meeting. You, as the organizer, need to allow them “out of the waiting room.” You can let one participant in or everyone at once.

All Zoom calls can be recorded. As long as all your attendees are on board with this, it’s fine. If you are in a meeting, you can see if you are being recorded by looking in the upper left of your Zoom screen. If recording is active, there will be a flashing red light and the word “Recording.”

Watch the participant list in meetings for unknown attendees. If you are the organizer and see an unauthorized or unknown person trying to connect, click ‘Security Options” and then click “Lock meeting.” You can also remove the unknown user from the meeting by right-clicking on their name and choosing “Remove user.”

The Share Screen option in Zoom is very handy for group meetings, but be cautious. If you have your email inbox up or other items you don’t want the group to see, make sure to select the correct window to share. Zoom shows you a list of available windows when you choose Share Screen, so select the right one!

Even though the pandemic has given Zoom an enormous boost, it’s likely we will be using it long after things return to normal. 

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